Before you discard my review of Forever Young: A Memoir (Sept. 2021) by Hayley Mills as an off-topic book review, try to bear with me for a few minutes before I get to the link between her and the Beatles.
For those of us of a certain age and generation, there will forever be only one real version of the movie ‘The Parent Trap‘ and it will be the one put out by Disney in 1961, starring a young, 14 year old, English actress by the name of Hayley Mills. Maybe some of you will even remember her in her first Disney movie, Pollyanna, in 1960! Truth be told, her movie career was one that was fast and furious, as you will obviously notice while reading her book.
Hayley Mills is the daughter of actor Sir John Mills. Granted, I had no idea who he was until I read this book, but to make a long story short, he played the father in the Disney classic – The Swiss Family Robinson. And though he was a well-known actor and household name in the 50s and 60s, he only got that part because Walt Disney was so determined to sign Hayley to a 6 year, 6 film contract, they offer him the lead in another film project they were developing.
Hayley is also the younger sister of Juliet Mills – the actress who played the nanny in the 1970-1971 television series Nanny and the Professor (I feel embarrassed that I didn’t know that!). One of the major themes throughout her life (and this book), is how much Hayley adored her sister and at the same time, the guilt she felt when she shot to fame ahead of Juliet.
So, where’s the Beatles connection? Well, like all the girls of her generation, Hayley was a huge fan of the Beatles and talks often of it within the context of her life. By the time, she became famous, she would occasionally run into them (and other famous rockstars) at exclusive clubs or parties around London. It was during one such party, in 1964, that a 17 year old Hayley would spy her mother in conversation with George Harrison and watch in horror & surprise as her mother asked (and received) George’s phone number! But if she thought that wasn’t embarrassing enough, when a charity event presented itself where Hayley would need an escort, her mother was so bold as to call up George and ask him to take her daughter! You’ll need to read this book to learn all the juicy details of that night and breakfast in the morning!
There’s cute story Hayley shares of the night she saw the Beatles perform at the Hollywood Bowl and the unbelievable after party in the Hollywood hills! Another great tale for the Beatle fan that absolutely needs to know every detail of the Fab Four’s whereabouts.
Though Hayley spends a lot of time talking about her costars and their personal history in this book, I couldn’t help but get drawn in by her story of a young girl swept up in the Hollywood movie star life, surpassing her father and sister’s stardom and still coming out the other side unscathed and squeaky clean. And at 76, she’s still acting today. And for that reason…
I rate this book, 4 out of 4 Beetles!
2 responses to “Book Review: “Forever Young: A Memoir” by Hayley Mills”
I love all the books that have reports of the London Sixties and life in the clubs and parties… none of the Beatles biographers have pictured that scene sufficiently. That’s the life of celebrities fans often don’t know and don’t want to know. That’s the dirt of any normal and celebrity life which should be part of any full picture of a person.
When I chose to read this book, I knew that she mentioned the Beatles, but the truth is…I never knew she went out with George or that she knew them. The cutest story is the one about the after party from the Hollywood Bowl concert. I can’t even recall if I ever heard of the party in the all the Beatles related books that I read.